944 Van Ness Street,
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Previously operated by: Westland Theatres
Styles: Renaissance Revival
Previous Names: Liberty Theatre, Mexico Theatre
News About This Theater
- Nov 18, 2009 — Happy 50th, "Ben-Hur"
The Liberty Theatre is the oldest theatre in Fresno, and was built in 1917, opening on on November 27, 1917 with William Farnham in “When a Man Sees Red”. Designed in Second Empire Revival style by local architects W.D. Coates and H.B. Traver, responsible for Fresno and other California landmarks. It was renamed Hardy’s Theatre from June 24, 1931.
By 1950 it was operated by Westland Theatres chain out of San Francisco. The 1950’s marquee of the theatre, whose exterior is remarkably well preserved, shows a later name, Hardy’s Theatre, while a large vertical sign displays the name MEXICO (Since the summer of 2005 this sign has been removed). The theatre was still open in 1981.
Fresno for a town its size has so many classic theatres that one could spend a half a day looking at them. Some others are Warnor’s Theatre, the Wilson Theatre, the Crest Theatre, the Tower Theatre and the Azteca Theatre.
In 2001 the city of Fresno began plans for a massive downtown revitalization but it is unknown what role the Liberty Theatre, which is on the Local Register of Historic Resources, will play. It had been in use as a Spanish Evangelical Church prior to 2005. They had vacated the building by early-2023 and it stands unused.
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